Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So what did you get for Christmas?

Well Christmas has been and gone for another year; so it is time to ask that most important question, “What did you get for Christmas?”
Me? I got a load of dirt! Sure I got the socks I desperately needed, the Book(s) by Michael Parkinson, that I said I wanted, and the Camera for my computer that I also desperately wanted. I even got a Callander with cute little doggies on it, and a couple of other things too. But it was the dirt that really excited me the most.
I had been actually wanting to go to my brothers for some time and get some, but had not yet gotten around to it as I only have a car and no trailer. Anyway although I had again mentioned I wanted some a week earlier, I was taken back by his phone call on the night of Boxing Day when he rang and said he would be a round the next day with his utility full of this composted soil, as a late Christmas present.
So not only did I get some dirt for Christmas, I got a whole lot of dirt too! So I am over the moon! (Even if I now have work out where to put it all. At the moment, most of it is still in my garage blocking the car from getting in.)
So while I can understand why a load of dirt might not be your idea of a perfect present, it was to me. So all this led me to thinking about other most unusual but most appreciated presents people may have received. Either this year or in years past? So over to you now for your response.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Do you really think everything really through?

Was watching the Australian version of “Who do you think you are”, last night and the young chap was told by his father that his grandfather might have had strong Mafia connections in the USA. So he heads off there to find out. Before he goes he says that he is not concerned about having Mafia connections and is comfortable with that. However, when he gets there and meets a former FBI agent who tells him all what one must do (Including being involved in some form in an actual murder) to be come a major player (which his Grandfather apparently was) this young man suddenly becomes very uncomfortable with the thought that His grandfather had been involved in a real murder!
And I’m sitting hers and saying, “Hello!” What did you think the Mafia was? A ladies knitting and croqueting club?” The mere mention of the name should have conjured up a group involved in all sorts of nefarious and illegal activities at some stage, even if not now. Things from extortion, racketeering, prostitution, drugs, money laundering, murder and a few others that I have forgotten.
So just hearing the word Mafia should automatically ring warning bells to the average person. Sadly some, it seems, still have a romanticised understanding of the Mafia. Probably because like this young man previously, they had had no personal dealings with it and thus have not experienced the real “Mafia” menace.
All this got me to thinking that the same is probably true about us too and although very few of us would have mafia connections, there are still probably many dangerous things around us that we are not seeing in their true light and thus have a skewed if not romanticised view and understanding of them and not seeing them as they really are. And when we do we like this young man above, get a real shock.
So, as we quickly come to the end of one year and head into another, what things, people or even ideas, do you need to seriously look at until you see their real nature? And will you do this now while there is perhaps still time not to get completely sucked into them and their way of life? Over to you now for reflection and hopefully positive action.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What does a referee do?

Recently received a letter from a friend and church contact who is about to under take a 12 month Counselling Course and she asked, if I, “Would you mind being a “referee” for me?
Being me, I wrote: “Well??? If it was to referee a fight you were in, then maybe yes, but to give you a character reference? Gee? I don't know about that! Lol. Seriously, of course I would be only too happy to do that for you if/when asked. Haven't been yet.”
To which she replied: “Hmm, yes I thought their use of “referee” was unusual. Who knows?
So it was in light of the above correspondence regarding our comments on the word Referee, that I decided to see what the on-line dictionary had to say on the subject.
It gave the following 6 meanings:
–noun 1. one to whom something is referred, esp. for decision or settlement; arbitrator.
2. (in certain games and sports) a judge having functions fixed by the rules of the game or sport; umpire.
3. an authority who evaluates scientific, technical, or scholarly papers, grant proposals, or the like for the publication or funding institution to which they have been submitted.
4. Law. A person selected by a court to take testimony in a case and return it to the court with recommendations as to the decision.
–Verb (used with object) 5. To preside over as referee; act as referee in.
–Verb (used without object) 6. To act as referee.
Now none of the above concisely coincided as how I expect they were/are using the word in this case, but I guess my previous thinking of the word referee, if I ever thought about it, was always and only towards the first two definitions, without even the thought of the other, legal meanings. Again it just shows that even when using familiar words, they don't always have the meaning that we are familiar with, do they? And so we need to be careful at all times that we both know what the other means when using otherwise familiar words, don’t we?
So, are there any other familiar words that you have always used, that now, you find have other meanings. Sometimes with totally opposite applications, like with “Cleave”.
Anyway, with that bit of nonsense out of the way, I will close now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

That’s what Dad said!

Although a mature young lady and about to be married soon, I had occasion to council her recently on the death of a beloved pet. And of course, me being me, did it in my own unique style, which seemed to work okay.
A bit later, over lunch, I had the occasion to overhear her side of a telephone conversation. At that stage I had no idea who was on the other end, except to conclude that they must have been very wise indeed! Just like me! Because all I kept hearing on this end, was, “That’s what dad said!” “That’s what dad said!” Must have heard it 3 or four times at least, not that I was counting!
Anyway, later I found out that the party on the other end was my very own first born! And it seems even if I hadn’t taught her much, I had at least taught her to be like me.
Now, whether that is a good thing or not, I will leave that with you, but it does point to the fact that those closest to us, do both see and imbibe, even if by osmosis, what they see and hear in and from us. So one always needs to be careful of the example we are leaving with others and especially those closest to us, don’t we?
So, who is learning what from you right now, and is it something that you would be proud to hear them say, “That’s what ****** said"?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Normal vs Double

Was at the Chemist (Pharmacy/Apothecary) recently, to buy some medication for myself. Upon deciding what was most appropriate for my complaint, I was only left to decide between the normal product and the double strength one. They were in fact made by the same company, had the same ingredients, except, as you would expect from a product labelled “Double Strength”, that one had 2 X the amount of active ingredient. Upon further checking I also noted that on the weaker strength one, you needed to take two pills each time instead of one. I also noted that the single strength packet had 20 tablets, compared to the 2x’s one, having only 10. So in the end it all boiled down to the fact of whether I wanted to take 2 little pills (And they were little) each time, or just one, and then pay an extra 15 cents a tablet for that pleasure?
For you see, although the double strength ones seemed to be offering more, (and charging more too), they were actually offering the same product in the same dosage, only offered in one pill and not two. Now that may be an advantage to some who have difficulty in swallowing pills (although again these were so small, that that could not really be an issue for any but the most extreme case, in which case they would probably have to be in hospital anyway.)
So again the issue was one of false or misleading perceptions and of a hidden or extra cost involved, to no other end than making the manufacturer richer.
So today’s query is, what are we, either buying or passing on to others as a bargain, that really isn’t a bargain at all, but a disguised “Rip off”? And what are you going to do to change that situation? Be more careful in future in all transactions? Or just “plough on” regardless, as you normally do? Time for your reflection now!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not so retrograde after all!

In a recent blog called, “Retrograde & Steady”. I mentioned that there was nothing wrong with a bit of retrograde thinking. Just as long as you brought the good things of the past into the future with you, and didn’t constantly stay in the past.
And that a mixture of the two was not to be shunned. Well that was the intent of my message and it seems our son at least got the point, as his following comment indicates, I think! “Love that in an email about retrograde you insert the term LOL. “
Upon receiving that I lol, at my own accidental illustration of both moving with the times, while still being a bit retrograde too! So, how are you living today? Totally retrograde? Or totally modern? Or have you learned the advantages of living in the best of both worlds? Over to you now for your comments and personal illustrations.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking Your Fun Seriously.

Earlier this year we went to the Harold Stevens Athletic Track in Coburg where the Coburg Harriers have their base and where a 24-hour Marathon was in Progress.
I am told that these runs are just for fun and for personal bests, but boy do they take their fun seriously. Not only to they count the laps to get the total distance, but I was told that when the 24 hours is nearly up, each participant is given a sack of sand on their last lap and when the siren goes showing the 24 hours is up they have to drop their sand there and then and, thus not only is each lap counted but even each individual metre in the unfinished lap. Talk about taking your fun seriously!!
What about us too? Do we take our fun that seriously too? And if so does that seriousness also follow us from our fun to our work too? Yes, whether at work or play, do we take every endeavour we do as seriously? Or just those things we really like, and then give a half-hearted commitment to everything else?
I personally think our fun should be fun, and only taken as seriously as it needs to be to have fun, while treating those things that need to be taken seriously, seriously!
So let us take all things that need to be taken seriously, seriously. And treat as fun, those things that are meant to be fun. What say you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Garden is a Bricolage. Is yours?

The word of the day for the 11th of October 2010 is as you may have guessed by now, Bricolage. Which means, so I am told a, “Construction or something constructed by using whatever materials happen to be available.” And the example given was, “Cooking with leftovers was bricolage--a dialogue between the cook and the available materials. -- Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash.”
As I thought about this dialogue between the cook and the available materials in dealing with leftover food, I couldn’t but help see the relationship between that and my Garden.
Listening to some garden programs on TV, they talk about how they come to a site, with already conceived plans and then work them into the property they have, Buying and bringing in all they desire from elsewhere. In my experience that works fine if you have the time. And the money! However my own personal approach is: to start with what you have before you and work up from there, with whatever you can economically get your hands on.
Are there lots of rocks available and a very low spot somewhere that you can’t fill? No problem! Use the rocks to make a rockery around a sunken Garden, like I did in one place in South Africa. Moved into a place with literally only one plant in it? No Problem! Just see what plants your friends and neighbours have in excess and are only too happy to get rid of. Take seeds and cuttings when available, and within 18 months you will be able in turn to give 2-Station wagon loads of plants away to your Children’s School. Again like we did in South Africa. Got lots of timber lying around and a hilly slope? Again no problem! Use the timber to terrace the slope. (Did that at my parents place here in Australia!) And if you move about a fair bit like we did, have your favourite plants in pots, so that you can take the best with you if the move is only local. Of course taking them to or from South Africa is out of the equation, but locally or Interstate is not. I have two huge Palms in 2 lage pots that have moved with us around Melbourne, 5 times now since I first brought them down from NSW’s a little over10 years ago.
All this is not to belittle well planned out and executed gardens. Not at all. They are a beauty to behold and put most bricolage gardens, like mine, in their place. But that said, with little money and using the Bricolage method, one can still have a beautiful garden and one you can happily leave for others to share when you have to move on.
So are you wasting precious resources, when you could be making better use of them by using the Bricolage process? What has been said about Gardens can also be said about our lives too! So are you also living a bricolage life and making the most of all that is currently available? Or wasting Good resources in your desire for better things? Better things that it seems, rarely ever come! What say you now?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I promise not to be fulsome in my praise of you.

This is a case of knowing a word but then having the completely opposite understanding of it. Once I would have considered it complimentary to find that some one had been “fulsome” in their praise of something or some one. Not any more!
Not since I read the word of the day for Sunday, October 17, 2010, which was “fulsome”. No, it doesn’t mean 'full of praise’, like I thought; but rather the opposite and in fact is:
1. Offensive to the taste or sensibilities.
2. Insincere or excessively lavish; especially, offensive from excess of praise.
So once again, we see that although it is always good to read and broaden one’s vocabulary, it is also vitally important that one also fully understands what these words mean before one starts using them, otherwise one could be seen as just “fulsome”, rather than “full of praise” like they imagine.
So, what are some words that you have used in the past, only to find out they didn’t quite mean what you thought they did at that time?

Friday, October 22, 2010

He who winds up must …

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, updated: 12/19/2009, we have the wife’s brother on the couch playing wild games with his young niece and nephew, and the scene opens with him (Phil) saying, “ That’s enough! – I can’t play anymore! It’s time for BED!” He then turns to his sister and says, “Elly, what’s with these kids?!”. Elly replies, “You got them all excited Phil. You chased them all around the house and now they are all wound up! Phil replies, “ I was just trying to tire them out! “ And Elly replies. “ Nope. Doesn’t work. You wound them up … Now you have to unwind them!” The scene ends up with Phil left with the two kids muttering, “ I’ll never understand what makes kid’s tick!”
Me neither, but it is "the winding up and unwinding" that attracted me here. How often do we set out to do something, always of course with nothing but the best intentions, (like Phil trying to tire the kids out), only to have it back fire on us (like in this illustration) and then we try to fob off the results and responsibilities of cleaning up after us, on to someone else. Who, usually, (like Phil’s sister here) refuses to accept our mess and makes us deal with the consequences? Something we never want to do, hey? Hence it is always a good idea to make sure before we start anything new to us, that we really know what we are a doing, and that what we are doing will achieve what we are trying to achieve, shouldn’t we? And if we don’t know, then we should ask the experts, or at least those who have experience in that field, for their advice before starting, shouldn’t we?
Well, I will leave that thought with now, for you to reflect on and maybe even implement next time you do something that you’re new or inexperienced at?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Follow up on Camellia Teas.

Recently wrote a blog, “Do you know the difference between Black & Green Tea?” This was about the 6 different types of Tea that come from the camellia Bush, and stated that I had only ever heard of two of these types of Camellia (Normal) tea. (Black & Green, but not, white, yellow, oolong, and pu-erh.) I then closed asking for input from others. Of which I received some, but before we get to them.
The day after I posted that blog, I was in a NQR store. (“Not quite Right” – not sure if that just describes the products they sell, or the people who, like me, who shop there?) Anyway, there, and much to my surprise I saw not one but two different types of “White Tea” Tea Bags. One from China, and the other from Twinning, so you can guess which on e I brought to try, can’t you. As for the other types of tea (Other than Green and Black) here are a few comments I have received to my blog ion the 6 different types of Tea from the Camellia Bush.
Now to the 3 comments received on the various teas consumed here in Australia;
1. G'day Walter: thankyou for the information on teas. As an apprentice grocer back in the late forties, I was educated on teas but I must admit that I had not heard on the white, yellow and Pu-erh tea. In my years at Myer as a senior buyer I knew of the Oolong, Green, Earl Grey (with its addition of Rind of Bergamot Orange & black: Also the various Herbal teas, but some of the info I was perhaps given, when a young apprentice had completely escaped me over the years (65 years) and my 5 years service in the Airforce as a motor mechanic wouldn't have helped. ***
2. I have heard of Oolong tea but none of the others. I now know why green tea is better for you - because it is NOT oxidised. It is supposed to be an ANTI -oxidant - I think black tea is to a point but not as good as green-tea. Ask a dietician. Cheers. *******
3. Hey Walter that is very interesting. I actually went on a tea obsession once. (yes I had given up alcohol!!!) I actually have tasted most varieties of tea, including the black, the green, the white but I am not sure on the yellow. I used to have a variety of teas from the Russian Caravan, the Earl Grey, the Rooibus, the English Breakfast, the Oolong, Green tea, then Green tea with jasmine or chamomile amongst many others. I also used to have the fruit teas like Rosehip, Orange, Berry etc. My favourite tea is Chai tea which is black tea with various spices including cinnamon and cardamom. Some of the stronger Chinese teas I wasn't particularly fussed with. It just goes to show there is still so much we don't know in the world despite how aged and learned we are!!!! Ha-Ha. Have a good day. *******
So now you know about as much as I do on the different types of Camellia tea (& a few others too.) and how they only vary because of the actual drying process and length of time of drying. I will write later on a different type of tea (RooiBos) but that’s for later. Bye for now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ever been Hypnagogic?

The word of the day for February 18th was Hypnagogic and while it sounds both quite rare and even painful, is not rare at all. At least not for me. Nor is it really painful, although being in that state can be a pain in itself.
No! Hypnagogic only means: “Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the state of drowsiness preceding sleep.”
Now as one who is often in a hypnagogic state when trying to sleep, it is interesting, on one hand, to know and learn that there is a fancy technical name for this state. But on the other hand, no matter what fancy or scientific name you call it; it is still “the state of drowsiness preceding sleep”. So why not call it that in the first place and be done with it? I mean, apart from maybe Medical Sleep Specialists, who uses “Hypnagogic” these days anyway?
I will admit, I like to play with Fancy words like that (& discombobulate) for a bit of fun with friends, but who really uses words like this in “real life”? So, today’s challenge is for all of us, (me too), that while not totally ignoring “proper terms” for things, to try and keep our conversations simple? Please?
Unless of course, like me, you are deliberately being silly, or, even better, trying to make a point! I will leave it with you now to decide which I am doing now. Bye.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do we really want to remember?

This “For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston, (Updated 25/9/2010) instigated my memory of the past too. In this strip, it opens with the mother in the Supermarket with her trolley and her toddler daughter and holding a carton of Milk. “ She says, “ Look at this price Elizabeth! – I remember when milk was 50c a quart!” She then goes on to say, “ I remember when bread was $1.28 a loaf and Chicken was $1.45 a pound.” At which point an old, old bald gentleman taps her on the arm and simply says, “Don’t ask me what I remember!”
Yes no matter what we remember, others can also remember ever further back too.
I can’t say I remember when milk was 50c a quart, but at least I can remember what a quart was, and when milk was in bottles too! (Even if only one pint Bottles!) My children in their 20’s & 30’s, wouldn’t, having never growing up with them. Nor with Pounds and ounces either for that matter. So my point here, is that we have to stop living in the past and go on into the future, whilst being happy here in the present.
True, things were cheaper in the past. I remember when the Herald newspaper cost 3 pence. Now the Herald Sun costs $1.10 weekdays; and more over the weekend! Of course, things were cheaper then, but what we also forget is that our wages were a whole lot less then too. As said, when I first started working, a newspaper was only 3 pennies. But my first full wage was only 6 Pounds Australian! That was the week before Feb.14 1966; I remember that date only because on that date, Australia went from Pounds, shillings and pence, To Dollars and cents. Thus my next pay was not now 6 pounds, but 12 Dollars. No I didn’t get a pay rise, that was the then current conversion rate.
Imagine that, working a 40-hour week for 12 dollars. You couldn’t get away legally with paying that for an hours wage now! So yes things were cheaper then, but so was our buying power too. Of course we have so much more now to spend our money on don’t we? And that is where our real problems lie, isn’t it? Not on how much things cost now, verses then, but on what, like food are real necessities, and what, like fast food and fancy phones, CD’s etc, are actually unnecessary luxuries, that we have made necessities.
So let us all look, not back at the prices 10 or 20 years ago, but let us look hard and close on what we are currently spending our money on now, and whether they are really necessities or just desired luxuries?
Not that there is anything wrong with a few luxuries, but do let us get our priorities right first! Okay?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do we really want our pasts revealed?

This blog is inspired by a Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon, by Bill Waterman from August 19th 2010.
It has Calvin and his imaginary friend, (his stuffed tiger), Hobbes, walking and talking. Calvin says, “I’m destined for greatness, I just know it. ‘Calvin the great,’ they’ll call me.” Then turning to Hobbes, he says, “ And think how lucky you’ll be! You’ll get to tell everyone how you knew me as a kid! What a privilege!” Calvin continues, “ In fact. All the papers and magazines will probably want to interview you to find out what I was really like.” At which point we hear from Hobbes, who quietly says, “ And boy will you have to cough up to keep me Quiet.” Surprised, Calvin then replies, “ And what’s that supposed to mean?”
Funny isn’t it, that we never see ourselves as others see us, nor as we really are, do we?
How many of us are like Calvin and live our lives like we are the only ones in the universe, and can do no wrong, and then are genuinely surprised to find that that is not true, and that they have a past to either live down or keep hidden?
Likewise, how many of us are like Hobbes and prepared to capitalise on our so-called friends personal failings, for the fame and fortune it may bring us? Sadly we see both scenarios being lived out almost daily in our Newspapers and on our TV’s, don’t we?
So let us all do our best not to add to this sad picture all around us now. Let all us Calvins, learn to have a proper respect for ourselves and for others, and to live a life in respect of all: Human, animal and environment!
Likewise let all us Hobbes, live lives of integrity and honour of and for all. Again, whether Human, animal or environment!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ahh Robur!

Hands up those who remember Robur tea? Is it still around? I had just about completely forgotten it until I read Word of the Day for Saturday, October 9, 2010.
Which was, “Roborant.” And means as an adjective: 1. Strengthening; restoring vigor.
And as a noun: 2. A strengthening medicine; a tonic; a restorative.
Which would explain why Robur Tea was marketed under a slogan that indicated that it was a drink that lifts and invigorates.
All this led me to ponder, how many of our other common brand names, actually described the product that they were for? Such as Pepsi Cola, which was once a product recommended for those who suffered from Digestive problems with their Pepsin (or digestive enzymes) in the gastric juices.
Well, what products (current or defunct) can you think of to add to this list?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Further hints for sleeping.

In a recent blog (Trying to get to sleep.) I wrote about how hard it was for some, including myself to get to sleep at night. I also mentioned, Sadly for me, that this had ever been a reality and I have tried various things over the years with varying and usually not long lasting success if any. Sometimes getting up again and reading even at 2 am works. Lately I have simply been counting. Sometimes it works and other times I can be up to 7 or 800 without dropping off. I them mentioned a Missionary friend in PNG, who lies in bed counting backwards from 1000 to help the mind to stop being so active and get to sleep.
I then closed with the following comment: “So my question today is for those like me, my daughter and our friend in PNG, who suffer from sleeplessness, what works for you? Your thoughts please?”
Here are 2 comments and suggestions that I received. Plus my personal reflections on them! 1. First from West Australia. “Hi it's me again!!!! When I first go to bed, I read for a bit and then set the radio on ( usually ABC FM or a station that has nice soft music) "sleep" so that it will switch itself off when an hour passes. 99% of the time it works, but on the odd occasion nothing will get me to sleep and I lay there thinking of all the worst scenarios of things, until I start to read again.
The books I read in bed at night are "mush". Years ago I went to the doctor and said that I couldn't sleep (at the time I was clutching a mystery-thriller) and he said that if that was what I was reading in bed , no wonder I didn't sleep. The he suggested that I read Mills & Boone paper backs. So at night I read "M & B "mush" and at other times I read all the other genres of books - mainly historical and biographies. At night the other causes my brain to go "dead", and so I fall asleep. The other sort fires it up and I could read all night!!!!
I don't suggest that you read M & B stuff, but maybe something that will slow you down and so that your brain idles along, eh?? Cheers, ******”
True I don’t read M & B, but I do like Paperback westerns; But when I read westerns (or novels), I often find myself more wide-awake and determined to finish them even well into the next morn, which is rather at cross purposes to the original intent, isn't it? So I tend to read heavy books like theology. They tend to make me stop reading fairly quickly when I am tired to begin with.”
2. From South Africa: “Reading or praying can help. ****”
To which I replied, ‘Praying does work, but then I feel guilty about falling asleep when I pray!”
Well that is all I have for now, but please feel free to add to this list if you can.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The not so common, Common Bronzewing. 10

A little while back, we started feeding the Birds hanging around our place, in an attempt to encourage some of the local parrots to visit with us. Along with the common birds like the spotted doves and Myrnas (Both the Native Noisy Myrna & imported Indian ones) and the desired parrots, we also had some crested Pigeons visit too. And then one day we saw another strange type of pigeon amongst them. And a very pretty one too. Upon making enquiries I was told that it was a Common Bronzewing Pigeon.
Now according to Wikapedia, “The Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) is a species of medium-sized, heavily built pigeon.[1] Native to Australia and one of the country's most common pigeons, the Common Bronzewing is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests.[2]
As already stated, it is very pretty. Again according to Wikapedia, “Males of the species have pale-yellow to yellow-white foreheads, and pink breasts.[1][3] Both males and females have an easily discernible white line around and close to their eyes. Common Bronzewings also have patches of red, blue and green on their wings, a feature which is characteristic of all Bronzewing pigeons.[1][3] Young birds are usually duller in colour and browner than the mature Common Bronzewing. Common Bronzewings are, on average, between 30–36 centimetres (12–14 in) in length.[2]
Although Wikapedia above says it is very common and it is also supposedly common to the area where I grew up, (not that far from here), I can’t ever remember seeing one before and certainly not this close to human habitation. But now I have seen one up close and personal and on our decking rail! Very happy am I too!
So now we have a male Common Bronze wing pigeon visit us, in what was his/it‘s common native area, but where they are now rarely seen. So today’s query is what are some other things or animals, that used to be common in your area, but aren’t anymore, although an odd one or two may still be around? Your responses please?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Retrograde & Steady.

Our youngest recently announced her engagement and in a general e-mail to our family and friends, I wrote in part, “Yes after going steady for nearly five years, …” To which I received the following reply from our daughter. “Steady, who uses the term steady these days! Oh and for your info we had actually been together 5 years and 7 days when he proposed. “ Forgetting the part about the length of time they have been going together, (not that she was obviously counting), I had to think about my use of the word “Steady”” especially in light of the fact that the Word of the Day for that very day: (Tuesday, October 12, 2010) was “retrograde.
Now retrograde has 3 common meanings:
1. Having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating.
2. Inverse or reversed, as order.
3. Exhibiting degeneration or deterioration.
Now there are some who might say, I fit that latter category of exhibiting degeneration or deterioration! (Lol) But the older I get, the more I do find myself fitting into the first definition and certainly in regard to retiring or retreating into the memories and patterns of my youth. (And quite happy if not outright proud about it, too!)
Now I have no idea what term these young people use now days, for going steady, but I’m guessing “Courtship” would be even more retrograde for them too? So in my defence (and yours too, if you fit in the same pattern), is that there is nothing wrong in looking back to the past, if you are looking for the right things. Not looking back as an escape from the future, but looking back, so as to not leave all the good stuff in the past, but to take the very best with us into the future always.
Yes it is true that sometimes, when we look back, we see a lot of “stuff” that we have left behind and say, “Thank goodness for that and, “What was I /we thinking at that time!” But also, and very sadly, we often also look back at a lot that has been left behind, and are left wondering, “Why did I/we let that happen”, and ““What was I /we thinking at that time!” So just because a thing, idea, or even a word is old, it doesn’t mean it has lost its meaning or purpose in our lives, even if we have, (purposely or otherwise,) left it far behind.
So today’s query is, “Are you retrograde too? And if so, for what reason? To escape from the future? Or to make the future more liveable and even more lovable? Well they’re my thoughts on the matter. What are yours?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trying to get to sleep.

I am fast pushing 60 and will hopefully make it there, before the year is out, but have, ever since I can remember, from “a wee little tacker”, had trouble in both going to sleep and staying asleep. A problem I probably inherited from my father and one, which I have passed along to our first born too. (Fortunately for the other two, they have inherited their mothers ability to drop off at the drop of a hat, and especially our boy!)
Sadly for me, that has never been a reality and I have tried various things over the years with varying and usually not long lasting success if any. Sometimes getting up again and reading even at 2 am works. Lately I have simply been counting. Sometimes it works and other times I can be up to 7 or 800 without dropping off.
Recently on a missionary friend in PNG, Face book page, she wrote:” *****lies in bed counting backwards from 1000 to help the mind to stop being so active and get to sleep. I've never gotten lower than 600 and I usually stop before 800, so I think it works for me! 1000, 999, 998, 997...”
As I said, I have counted upwards to 1000 before many times, but never backwards, but she is right in trying to keep an active brain otherwise engaged on things that won’t keep you overly alert. This is a good thing and usually effective for me. So my question today is for those like me, my daughter and our friend in PNG, who suffer from sleeplessness, what works for you? Your thoughts please?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sarspadidious Follow up.

In a previous blog, I asked if anyone out there knew what Sarspididious meant, as someone had sent the word to me, but I couldn’t find any reference to it. Not even when I Googled it! However when I posted this blog my son also googled it about a week later and this is his findings: “Google only comes up with 3 results - one of which is yours, the other a dead end. The third is a forum where there was no answer but they think it might be a made up Aussie word from the 60's. Here is the link http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1316820”.
So unless someone comes up with something further, I am going to leave it as a Made up Aussie word from the 1960’s with the rough meaning of: “being deliberately silly or stupid.” So until or unless I find out more on the subject, that is where I will leave it for now. Thanks for your participation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do you know the difference between Black & Green Tea?

Do you know the difference between Black & Green Tea? 6/10/2010
I am sure that like me you were well aware that Tea comes from the 2 to 4 top leaves of a variety of Camellia and not from Beans from a tree like Coffee. But do you know that difference between Green & Black tea? I knew that the very best teas were/are those only picked from the two top leaves from the variety of Camellia called “Sinensis”. {Which is just one of about 90 different species of camellia and not one of the 3 main varieties you see in many Gardens. And many currently in full flower. (At least In Australia!)}
I knew all this (from my time working with a Camellia connoisseur many, many years ago now.) Yes, I knew that, but I didn’t know the real difference between Black and green tea , although I have drunken and like both! Do you know the difference? Apart from the colour that is! Did you even know that there were in fact six basic varieties of tea? They are white, yellow, green, black, oolong, and pu-erh. (Other types of tea come from other types of plants, but these 6 all come from the same plant?) Well they do, but the differences are determined by how they are processed.
According to the “Hot word” from Word of the Day” for Oct.6th – 2010:”Green tea, for example is dried, but not wilted, and it doesn’t go through enzymatic oxidation, which the tea industry calls fermentation. Black tea is wilted and also fully oxidized. The process to make oolong tea is somewhere between the two. It is wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized.
The taste of green tea is often described as light and grassy, while black tea usually has a stronger, sweeter taste. Oolong tastes more similar to green tea with a sweet aftertaste.
Many Americans may not have heard of oolong. The Earl Grey tea blend, though is far more familiar. Its distinct flavor and aroma comes the addition of an oil that has been extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange.”
I’m guessing that many Australians (&at least this one are like the many Americans mentioned above, and have not heard of “Oolong tea.” Have you?
In fact have you heard/tasted white or even yellow, let alone “Pu-erh” tea? Your comments please?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What is your true colour in every Light?

Was walking up the street when I saw a black Ute* coming towards us. But before it got to us, it did a u-turn and while it was doing so the sun reflected off it and I saw that it was not black at all, but a funny shade of Green. Then having completed its turn, it again looked black out of the direct sunlight.
It very much reminded me of my previous car. Just after I bought it, I visited my parents and of course showed it off. Then the next time I visited them, I was asked to settle an argument between them. It seems one insisted it was black and the other blue, and wanted me to declare who was right and who was wrong.
Of course me being me, promptly declared them both wrong. Which they were, as the car was actually and officially Green. Just that in various light and shades, it did even appear black and blue, despite actually being neither. With further reflection and upon seeing my car in different lighting, I could also clearly see where they were looking from.
All of which got me to thinking that often that is also true about us as people too, and that people often only see others in one light or another. Thus we can sometimes be seen as all good or all bad, when in fact we are really in between those “two extreme Colours”. And, neither the worst nor the best, just us. So what “Colour are you really now? And are people really seeing your true colours all the time?
* Utility or Light Commercial Vehicle or Bakkie!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A simple Glitch in your system.

As I may have mentioned before (many times) when it comes to computers I am quite illiterate. I know how to switch them on and operate them when all is well, but other that that, I am dependant on my children for help and assistance.
Well the other day when I went to connect to my Internet server it would not do so, saying it couldn’t make the connection. Normally I would have rung my son crying, “Help” but as he was coming up that night anyway, I decided not to bother him at work but wait till he arrived. Nonetheless I kept trying to connect on and off during the day. All to no avail.
When our boy arrived, he also had no immediate success and eventually rang someone for advice. Thus he was told that there had been a glitch in the Modem and all he had to do was switch the computer off, unplug the modem, wait 10 seconds and replug it in and it would/should start again. All of which he did and low and behold it was soon working again.
Again I was struck by the similarity we humans are to computers, or vice-a-versa! And how often we have unexplained glitches, where we too simply have to briefly at least disconnect ourselves, and then start again. Often with little or no change in our original Modus Operandi. Simply a little break away to recharge or reset our batteries before re- connecting to life again in all its complexities.
Me, I've just had a week away in beautiful cloudy and overcast Queensland for a week, and apart from the Sunburn, feeling the better for it too. Now maybe you can’t quite withdraw that far or even for that long, but maybe, just maybe, you too need to unplug too for while/ Maybe not a week, but much longer than 10 seconds too? What say you?
****As a footnote, it did the same thing the next morning too. But armed with the above information, which I followed to the letter, I soon had the Modem connecting again. And again able to e-mail again! Just showing that sometimes we need to do things more than one! Of course if it does it again tomorrow, then I know it is more than a minor Glitch and in need of more precise and specialist treatment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Do you know what prorogation means?

Do you know what prorogation is and that we in Australia had one a few weeks back, and that we in Victoria are in one right now, starting yesterday? Like most of you, until recently I had never heard of the word or act before. However earlier this year, on a Canadian friend’s Face book site, she mentioned that she had joined the group “Canadians against Prorogation “. Again not knowing what prorogation was and whether it was just something unique to Canada, I looked it up on the net. And much to my surprise I found that we in Australia have one usually every 3 or 4 years.
According to the Dictionary, Prorogation means: To discontinue a session of (a parliament, for example). Or To postpone; defer.” Thus Parliaments are prorogued before elections to prevent the upper house from sitting during the campaign and to expunge all existing upper house business before the start of the next parliament. In Australia, prorogations not thus related to the conduct of an election are unusual.
So it seems that normally, Prorogations are “normal business” before every election to stop any “funny business, but it appears that in Canada at least, those normal procedures were being used for abnormal or political purposes and not for what it was originally intended.
So anyway, although I now know, what a prorogation is and that we have them regularly here in Australia, and used properly are good things, I am still most unlikely to use that word myself. Still I can’t help but wonder about how the Canadian Ruling party was using a normal process for an abnormal and seemingly selfish purpose. And similarly, I can’t help wondering if there are similar things in my life that I too am using for in an inappropriate or improper or even selfish reason here. Again Forgetting the Canadians here, the question, I am now asking myself is, am I similarly misusing a good and normal process for my own benefit and am I prepared to stop doing so?
Maybe you too might need to do some similar reflecting now too? Over to you for now!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do you use paraprosdokians?

In a recent blog, I asked people to send in unusual or quaint words that were often now seen as obsolete. In two separate replies, I was given the word, paraprosdokian. Now unlike me, I’m sure you know what a paraprosdokian is? Well you should, as most of us trend to use them from time to time, even if we don’t know their name.
According to Wickipedia, A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a syllepsis.
So now you know what a paraprosdokian is, I will give you a couple of classic examples:
Ø Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
Ø I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
Ø Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Ø The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
Ø Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Ø The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Well, now that you know what a paraprosdokian is, what are some of your favourites? Please?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do you know what “sarspadidious (?) Means?

After some recent blogs about unusual or rare these days’ words, I asked if anyone knew some more. To which I received the following response. “Yes I have!!! Another word I heard the other day was sarspadidious (? spelling). My Mum used to tell me not to be so, and I hadn't heard the word in years until I was listening to the radio and there was a guy discussing words not used these days, when a woman rang in and said that her Mum used to say it too. It's not even in the dictionary!!!! Cheers: *******”.
Well I tried to find it also but also couldn’t find it either, so I am wondering if you know what it means? And if you do, would you please pass that information onto me please?
In further communication with my friend, she further wrote: “I think she implied - not to be stupid.” So that is your task for today: To let me know what “sarspadidious” means. Providing that you do know of course! Thanks in anticipation.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do you Grok me?

The Word of the Day for Monday, April 5, 2010, was “Grok”, and apparently a slang word meaning: “To understand, especially in a profound and intimate way.”
Apparently, “The slang word grok was coined by Robert A. Heinlein in the science fiction novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", where it is a Martian word meaning literally "to drink" and metaphorically "to be one with".
Personally, I can’t quite grasp the connection between the now common usage and the original meaning, which means I don’t grok why anyone would want to use a word like grok, for any other reason than to be pretentious? Or, like me, in trying to make a point! My Point? To try and use everyday words (where possible) that are plain and not open to either misinterpretation or pretentiousness. Well, that is my point for today, but do you grok me? Truly?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do you collect Ephemera?

In the cartoon strip, “Rabbits against magic” By Jonathan Lemon (14/12/1009) the white rabbit strolls in and asks the blue rabbit: “How come you spend so much time down here?” To which the blue rabbit replies: “I like to sort my collection of Ephemera.’ “ I’ve got posters, maps, brochures, post cards, ticket stubs, air sickness bags, letters, comics, magazines, certificates, prospectuses, catalogues and novelty book marks.’ Continuing he says: “ There’s even a box of pamphlets here on how to reduce clutter.” To which the white rabbit replies: “ I didn’t know you were part squirrel.”
By that I think he means that the blue rabbit is nuts for collecting all that stuff which by its very nature is ephemera. “Ephemera is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day.”
So which rabbit are you and I? The one who collects ephemera things? Or the one who thinks those who do this are nuts? While it must be said that there is nothing wrong with keeping a collection of a few ephemeral things (some of which can become very valuable in later years) but there is also a point where this obsession becomes a clutter, maybe even a danger. A danger to both you and to others too. I recently read a story in the paper about how a women who had been reported missing two months earlier by her Husband, had been found in her own house, under a heap of clutter where an overladen book case had collapsed on her.
So, on the one hand I am not trying to deter you from collecting things, even ephemeral things, but please do so in moderation and avoid obsession, clutter and possible danger. Please?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

But Who Else Is Listening?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, (17/1/2009), it has two boys playing in the snow, and one says to the other: ”I was just fooling around Mike. You don’t have to be That mad.” “ I was just teasing you! Deanna probably doesn’t even know what I said!” To which mike replies: “HMPH.” To which the other continues on with: “When I said you liked her, she never did anything! She prob’ly didn’t even hear me!!” To which Mike angrily replies: “ Oh yeah?” Well everyone else did!!!” To which the scene pans to 3 other children nearby laughing their heads off!
This just reminds us that we need to be both careful about what we do say and where we say it. For there always seems to be an inappropriate audience, when we share things when and where we shouldn’t.
So today’s lesion is for each of us be both careful of what we do say and where we say it too!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Are you real mean too?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, UPDATED: 02/22/2010, it has the young boy pleading with his mother: “Aw, does it have to be Brenda? I want Charlene to babysit, Ma – Please?” “Charlene’s neat ma –an’ Brenda’s MEAN! REAL MEAN.” And finally he finishes to himself: “Brenda makes us go to bed on time!”
Funny how we often make strong judgements on how people treat us, whether it is right or wrong? And even though others might be doing the right thing and often as in this case, the thing that is best, for us, we often refuse to see that and consider them Mean, like poor Brenda in this Cartoon.
So today’s question is, who is it around you now that you currently think are mean? And are they really? Or is it you, like the young boy in the cartoon, the real mean and selfish one? Again just something for you to think about and maybe even do something about it, if felt led in that direction.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No, I’m Not Discombobulated!

Seems I am not the only one with an interest in unusual words, as I have received a couple of replies lately in reference to my blogs on them. One, while it didn’t discombobulate me like the writer intended, did make me stretch my memory a little. Fortunately it has been a word of the day not so long ago and so had there been any discombobulating, it wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. What about You? Are you discombobulated by the word, Discombobulate?
If so, be discombobulated or confused no more! For discombobulate simply, but very grandiosely, means, “To confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate:”
Okay so your challenge for today is to, like these ladies, to come up with your favourite Pretentious or unusual word. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are you or have you, ever been called a Flibbertigibbet?

I just love the Word of the Day for Jan. 6. It is “flibbertigibbet”.
Although certainly not a nice thing to call anyone and especially a young lady, you have to admit it sounds rather impressive doesn’t it?
So the next Time someone calls you a Dumb Blonde, tell them you are not. Tell them you are simply a Flibbertigibbet!
That is, “A silly, flighty, or scatterbrained person, especially a pert young woman with such qualities.” No real difference I agree, but you will dumbfound them with this extraordinary word.
According to the word of the Day source, “Flibbertigibbet is from Middle English flipergebet, which is probably an imitation of the sound of meaningless chatter.”
Which on reflection, is what this blog is today: Meaningless chatter! So Bye for now!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All your own choosing?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, (15/12/2009) it has two men in a shop. One, a bachelor guiding the married man in buying a present for his wife.
The conversation goes: B. “A pearl necklace would be perfect” H. “Are you sure?” B. “Absolutely”. Get her something simple and elegant. That one for instance, is quite lovely.’ Turning to the salesman the bachelor, says: “Yes, that will do nicely. Can you gift wrap it for my friend, please?" Sales man: “My pleasure.” The S.M. then turns to the husband and says: “Your package sir.” H. “Um … thank you”. Then, as they are outside the shop and going home the bachelor states, “Trust me John. Elly will be thrilled that you chose and wrapped something like this yourself!”
Ever find yourself in a similar situation? A situation where it seems like you are in charge, but in reality, someone else, often with no real experience to your own situation, is really pulling the strings?
True sometimes this can be quite helpful and appreciated and even right. But many times it can also be unhelpful misguided and totally wrong.
Oft times what is right and appropriate for one person’s situation is totally wrong or inappropriate in another, isn’t it? Just something to also think about when offering help too, isn’t it?

Monday, September 27, 2010


You may already know that I am a fan of the Word of the Day” and am often intrigued by some of the words they use. Some are quite ordinary and still in common usage, some quite interesting although somewhat rare, and others are just so plainly never in common usage in today’s English. And others just seem so archaic to us Aussie’s (Australians).
On our recent Rivers cruise of Europe, we came across one such seeming word, which in my mind is now, my word of the Year. And that word is “Apothecary”
I called it above, a seeming archaic word. That is because here in Australia, it just isn’t in common usage at all. However in Europe it is so common that it is plastered almost everywhere.
I suffer at times from headaches and so like to have some Aspirin or Panadol handy at all times, but with Drug enforcement so strict, I didn’t want to go through the fuss of taking some with me from here to Europe on our trip, and so decided to wait till we arrived in the Netherlands and then nip out to the nearest Chemist shop to buy some.
However upon arrival there could not find a single Chemist, or even a Pharmacist sign anywhere. Found out a couple of days later that they don’t have chemists or pharmacists in the Netherlands or indeed in Europe at all. No! What they do have though are, yes you guessed it, “Apothecaries”!
Thus armed with this information I was able to buy some Panadol. (Trying to ask for Panadol in English, where English was not spoken was another issue, but that’s another story.)
Just recently I was reading the Book of Ecclesiastes, in my King James Bible. And when I came to Chapter 10 verse one, I nearly fell out of my bed. For there, in my very own Bible, was the word Apothecary.
(Upon doing a word check I found that it is also used another half dozen times in the KJV.) However as I don’t normally use the KJV regularly, and in the modern translations they use the more broader meaning “of mixing of herbs and spices” and use the word Perfumer, which in Australia at least is not a particularly popular or common word either.
So that is my uncommon “Word for the Year”: so far. What are some uncommon words that you have found recently, that are more common than you originally thought?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not well.

There I was, standing at the counter to hand my purchase and my money over, when the young lass on the other side, cheerfully said ”And How are you today? “ So I cheerfully replied, "Not too bad thanks!”
Then I wondered to myself, “Well that was both a stupid question by her, and an equally stupid, not too mention, incorrect answer by me.” After all, if I were well, would I be in a Chemist (Pharmacy/Apothecary) paying good money for medication for myself?
Yes, silly indeed, but how often do we all answer blithely and without thinking, the questions of others? Even to the point of saying, all is well, even when it is obviously not?
Just a little reminder to all here, and especially myself, that next time, before I speak, I stop, think and mean what I say! Will you try that too? Good for you!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daffodils, Dad & Wordsworth

At the beginning of this month, I wrote the following on my Facebook site: “Way back in the 1950's, dad brought a dozen King Alfred Daffodil bulbs. Although it is over 4 years now since His passing, the descendants of those original 12 bulbs still bring me great joy and remembrance of Him, as I sit here watching their blooms toss in the wind through my window.”

Today, a fortnight later, the same blooms are still giving me great delight and not only reminding me of Dad but also of a great poem I was taught in primary school, some half a century ago. It was by William Wordsworth and although all about daffodils, is actually called, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.”

Anyway, here it is, for your pleasure as much as mine I hope.
“ I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing daffodils;
Along a lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves besides them dance, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: -
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company;
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood.
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills.
And dances with the daffodils.”

Now, I have actually been to England, but sadly never made it to the Lakes District and seen these descendants of Wordsworth’s daffodils in all their glory. Nor have I quite seen ten thousand blooms dancing in the Breeze at any one time, but I have seen the massive and glorious golden masses of my late father’s daffodils and thus, I too, like Wordsworth, can often look back and remember these “Golden Memories”.

What are your golden memories and how often do you look back on them? Just something for you to think about, as I now think about “Daffodils, Dad & Wordsworth”.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Great Man

Back in our Missionary days in South Africa, we started corresponding with a couple from Western Australia and have continued to do so since our return to Australia some 8 years ago later this year, but had not met them before.
This changed last week when they came over to Melbourne to watch their son, who lives over here, run in a 24-hour Marathon in Coburg.
Being about 40 kms away across town we are not that familiar with that side of Melbourne, but had heard of the Harold Stevens Athletics Track where the event was being held, before, as back in the early 70’s there was a local controversy there when it came to naming this then new reserve. Some wanted to name it after a former famous Olympic Gold medallist who had done some training there, while others wanted to name it after a local son and member of their club, Coburg harriers. And so in 1971 the local son won out and so it was that the other day my wife and I went to the Harold Stevens Athletic Track, to meet some friends and see their son run in the race for a short time.
While there we had a look in the clubrooms and saw lots of pictures and memorabilia and even some photos of the great man himself. Thus later when one of the competitors, when passing where we were, and looking past us, shouted, Hi Harold”. We were able to ascertain, when looking ourselves, that this was the great man himself.
Now looking at the shambling old man hanging on to his walking frame and gasping for breath, it might seem that I am being sarcastic when I call him the Great man, but considering that he is into his 70’s and has spent half of this year in Hospital at or near death’s door, it showed the man's greatness and dedication to his club, to at least be in the Clubhouse when events are on. I was also touched by how people from the club rushed to help with genuine love and concern for Harold and His wife June Showing.
At this time I decided I should go over and say hello, so went up and spoke to his wife June, who just happens to be one of my cousins, but one I haven’t seen for a few years. (Just thought I should put that in as some sort of public discloser.) Now back to Harold. Even though he cannot do much these days, he has still set himself the task of collecting replica uniforms from the clubs 100 plus years in existence. Yes, he does need help even with that, but still he is helping and contributing to his club, and not resting on his laurels and past achievements as a top runner in his prime.
So yes Harold Stevens is a great man and one worthy of having a ground named after him. But again what about us? We may never have anything named after us, but will we continue to contribute to our community over and over, throughout the years? Or are we just going to be Flashes in the Pan? Maybe doing some thing worthy for a little while and then not able to do anything else because we are too busy living in the past.
Let us learn from this truly great man and just keep on contributing to our community, even if it is a little less than we could last year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Walking and swimming

Went the other day to see a young man run in a 24-hour marathon and met his main support man, who was a Walker himself, but was only getting back into walking after a long layoff through an ankle Injury, (so was not competing himself that day in the concurrent walking event).
Tell me, what would you have been doing in the meantime if that had happened to you? Sitting back and moaning about it and putting on weight.
Well this young man did put on weight, but intentionally so. For you see, as he could not walk for too long on his ankle, he took up swimming to strengthen it again. And obviously not being one to do things lightly, he set himself the task of swimming the English Channel.
To do this he had to put on the extra weight to give himself some body fat protection against the cold, and also had to find a support team and money etc. But the thing is, that when he found he could not do one thing he loved, he didn’t whinge and complain and sit back and expect sympathy. No! He simply changed his focus, albeit at considerable cost and effort, and set himself a new target. A target that he also met, and he has also since lost that extra weight and is now back easing himself back into His first love of Walking again.
So again what about us when obstacles and set backs present themselves? Do we just give up and sit back and moan and complain?
Or like this young man, do we just adapt and change our focus for a short time, even if it is uncomfortable and costly, and set and meet other objectives, and returning if possible, to our original goals when and if possible later.
Again something to ponder on for today.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Walkers & Runners

Recently went to see someone participate in a 24 hour Marathon out at the Harold Stevens Athletics track at Coburg. They actually had 4 separate events happening at the same time. They had men and Ladies groups running and Men and Ladies groups walking around the same course at the same time.
These people supposedly run/walk for fun but are also very competitive. Yet, can still co-operate together. The runner we went to see, had as his main support team, a Walker who had been injured and is only now getting back into walking again, but was not competing here but satisfied to help someone else and a runner and not a fellow walker to compete and to give of his best.
What about us? Are we as prepared to help others when and where we can, or we so competitive that we will not help anyone and especially someone outside of our own discipline?
Just something to think about for Now!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have you ever created a Neologism?

Some, not so nice people, might argue that some of my spelling attempts might almost qualify as neologisms, but sadly none of my creatively spelt words have ever become neologisms. At least not to my knowledge, that is. So what exactly is a neologism you ask?
Well, according to the Word of the Day for Monday, April 12, 2010, neologism is one of the following: 1. A new word or expression.
2. A new use of a word or expression.
3. The use or creation of new words or expressions.
4. (Psychiatry) An invented, meaningless word used by a person with a psychiatric disorder.
5. (Theology) A new view or interpretation of a scripture.
Usually with the creation of any new word, it takes a while for it to, not so much for it to come into common speak, but also to be accepted as a worthy word acceptable to all, and not just some common vulgar slang expression.
So what neologisms do you use? Note, I didn’t ask what neologisms you invented, but which neologisms do you use?
In other words, do you use new words all the time and thus regularly expand your vocabulary? Or do you still use a minimal vocab, because you are afraid to use new words for fear of sound precocious or pretentious, or even some other reason like fear of spelling it wrong?
Again you and I may never invent or create a neologism, but that should never stop us from using them either. So what say you today? What neologism or new word to you will you introduce into your common vocab now? Over to you for now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

With what do you Interlard your conversations?

Interlard, the Word of the Day for Thursday, April 8, 2010, is almost self-explanatory in its basest meaning. The original sense of the word, now obsolete, was "to place lard or bacon amongst, or to mix, as fat meat with lean." Now, however it means, “to insert between; to mix or mingle; especially, to introduce something foreign or irrelevant into; as, "to interlard a conversation with oaths or allusions."
I was especially taken by the words “to introduce something foreign or irrelevant into” and the example of "to interlard a conversation with oaths or allusions." How many time’s have you experienced a good conversation ruined by the introduction of foreign or irrelevant thoughts and words? And the more so, by totally unnecessary swear words; and oft, even more so, by the inexcusable and offensive to me at least, word, “Umm!”
Of course it is always very easy to pick on the conversation of others isn’t it? Bu but let us also never forget our own conversations too! Yes, how many foreign or irrelevant words, (like oaths or allusions), do we use each day? So let this word of the day become real to us all and if we must interlard our conversations, please let us do it with relevant and meaningful words and not offensive or dumb ones. BFNW

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How well do you honour the past?

Took the following from a friend‘s blog. (She is currently living in Papua New Guinea.)
“Today ******* and I went to Sohano Island, which sits in the Buka Passage, that is the small bit of ocean between Bougainville and Buka Island. There are some war memorials at Sohano and I visited them on your behalf.
The Australian memorial was a bit off the beaten track! It wasn't very far, but the path to it was almost non-existent and we ended up with lots of prickly burrs in our clothes for our effort! The first 3 photos above are of this memorial. I think the words are pretty clear on the first picture, but the second one is a bit harder to see – it says: In memory of the service given by the coast watchers and the loyal natives who assisted them 1939-1945.
The Japanese war memorial was more prominent and we just walked on nice short grass to get to it… You can see it from the sea when you are travelling on a motor boat as it is at the top of a hill at a point on the island.”
I found it interesting and even a little disturbing, to find that one side, (the winning side) neglects their memorials to the dead, while the other (The side that lost) maintains their memorials to the long departed.
All of which made me wonder, with Anzac Day coming up fast this month, if I really truly honour the past, or simply pay it lip service, one or two days a year, and then promptly forget about it the rest of the time? How about you? Are you any better at honouring the Past than me?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hypothetical Moral Dilemma for you? 6/3/2010

When I was in Secondary School (Watsonia Technical School) in the early 60’s, the strongest drug around my school then was ordinary Cigarettes, so I missed out on ever having the opportunity to ever try Marijuana. Similarly, although it was definitely around the places I worked in, in the and 70’s and early 80’s, and I knew of people who possibly used it or had possible access to it, I never saw the need to try it at all.
Not even in the 90’s, which we spent in the Transkei area in South Africa which supposedly grew the best marijuana (Or Dagga, as it is called there) in the world, whilst still strictly illegal.
Now, shortly, my wife and I, will be going to Amsterdam where apparently smoking Marijuana is Legal. So my moral dilemma is, should I, just because it is/will be legal to do so, now take advantage of this legal opportunity to try Marijuana or not? After all I can legitimately say I am thinking of trying it to cure my ongoing and persistent headaches, thus giving reasonable health grounds for trying it?
Don’t worry, I am not seriously considering trying it, but was again struck by the irony that just because a thing is now legal, doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you or that you must now rush out and try it, just because you can now do so legally. What say you?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Good Wife

Winston Churchill supposedly once said, "My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."
After having been married for 37 years yesterday, I have only 3 words for Him:
"Amen Winnie. Amen."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Do you like Havaianas?

A friend of ours is Currently visiting South America and was recently in Buenos Aires. Where he reported, “Havaianas for as low as $15AUD. Not bad huh.” To which I thought, “How would I know if that was good or bad, as I don’t even Know what a Havaiana is”.
At first, I thought it might have been a Cuban Cigar, but as I don’t think this person smokes, I didn’t think that was it though. So l looked it up on the Net and found out that the exotic sounding ’Havaiana was simply a brand or trade name for a simple product that, although supposedly introduced to us by the Kiwis, is a quintessential piece of Australian footwear. Yes! That exotic sounding Havaiana, is simply a brand of the Humble thong, or as it is known in South Africa, the Flip-flop!
Thus, Havaianas are a Brazilian brand of thongs/flip-flops that gained world recognition in 1998 after the company developed a style of the sandals for the World Cup that featured the Brazilian flag. Although Havaiana flip-flops have only become wildly popular in the United States in the last five years after many celebrities were seen wearing them, the brand has been around since 1962. The brand's famous slogan "Havaianas. The Real Ones." originated in the 1970s as a response to other companies making knock-off versions of the flip-flops. The shoes are known for their comfortable soles and straps. The name Havaianas means Hawaiians (in Portuguese), which is where they obviously come from via Japan where all thongs/ flip-flops apparently originate from.
All in all, all the above doesn’t really mean all that much to me, but it was surprising to learn that a product that many Australians would think was synonymous with Australia, both has other names and originated elsewhere far from Australia.
All of which made me wonder how many other things we proudly claim as our own that we should actually be giving credit and recognition to? And I guess the same thing should be asked of my own life too? What things am I currently taking or being given credit for that I should be giving or directing to the correct source? Maybe you too need to ask that same question too? Over to you now for your reflection.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What is your current prejudice?

When we came back from South Africa in 2002 and brought a car here, we started using the local Mechanic in Ringwood that our oldest daughter used, who in fact was technically an Auto electrician who worked out of a small factory next door to a Brake and Clutch mechanic. And between the two there wasn’t too much that they couldn’t fix when it came to car problems. Then our youngest daughter also took her car there and all was happy for many years, but then late in 2008, the oldest daughter bought a late model Mazda and we, a new Mazda and we both took them to the Mazda dealer. At around the same time our youngest bought a late model Holden and our Mechanic/auto electrician decided to give up his business and go and work for wages next door at the Brake and Clutch place. At the same time our Youngest independently decided that she wanted to take her Holden to a Holden specialist. So that is how, although we all used the same mechanic, we all left him but not because of any fault or weakness of his.
Well the youngest took her Holden to the Local Holden specialist a couple of times and wasn't very happy with them or their service and so when a sudden problem occurred after Christmas with the ignition, 5 days before she was planning to drive up to Townsville, some 36 hours driving time away, she decided to go to another Holden dealer, but they couldn’t do it for four days, (a little over 24 hours before she wanted to leave) and that it would cost her $300.
So I suggested that she go back to this other mechanic, where our mechanic now works and just get their opinion on the matter. So we did and they were open first day back after the Christmas break, and although our Mechanic wasn’t there, the Boss of the place worked out what the problem was, and said that whilst he could do it, they were really busy and it really was a locksmiths job anyway. So he checked that the locksmith he used was open and we went around there.
But all the way there the youngest was saying, “BUT IT IS NOT RIGHT TAKING A CAR TO A LOCKSMITH! A CAR NEEDS A MECHANIC. “
Anyway as her options were rather limited, she went. However after speaking with the people there, who immediately knew that her Holden was an Astra around the year 2000 model and that they had a stack of Ignition cylinders for most makes and models of Cars, she was much happier about them “fixing” her car. And less than an hour’s work and only $135.00 later, she was one very relieved and happy young lady.
I think that left to her own devices she would not have gone to the locksmiths but waited till the last minute for the $300 fix. A decision that not only would have cost more for no better a job but left her stressed for those extra 4 days.
All of which made me wonder what prejudices I might have, that are also irrational and illogical when you really think about them. After all where else would you go for help with a problem with a lock and key, but a locksmiths, even if the key and lock belong to a Car?
So I just thought I would start the New Year with the thought that perhaps all of us should re-evaluate our current prejudices anew and see if perhaps they too are irrational and need changing. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When do you take your Christmas decorations down?

Well I finally finished taking the Christmas Decorations down yesterday. I had wanted to start on Boxing Day but was told that I should leave them up till Jan. 1st at first. And then someone else said, no Jan 6th is the day they stay up to.
Well I compromised and the Cards and the outside lights came down on Jan 3 and the Tree yesterday.
But am still wondering what is the normal day to remove the Christmas Decorations and the reason for why that particular day?
To me, once Christmas Day is past, there is no point in them staying up! What are your thoughts please?